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Bill Gates' Best Advice from Warren Buffett: Keep Things Simple

Monday, 22 Jun 2009 | 11:13 AM ET
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, right, and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates participate in a Q & A session with students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Business Administration, in Lincoln, Neb., Friday, Sept. 30, 2005.(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Nati Harnik
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, right, and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates participate in a Q & A session with students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Business Administration, in Lincoln, Neb., Friday, Sept. 30, 2005.(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Microsoft's Bill Gates says the best advice he's ever gotten from his friend and fellow billionaire Warren Buffett is to keep things simple.

Fortune magazine asked a "host of influential leaders" for the "wise words that changed their lives forever."

Fortune's Andy Serwer interviewed Gates and his father, Bill Gates Sr.

"Q: What's the best advice Warren Buffett has ever given you?

Gates Jr: Well, I've gotten a lot of great advice from Warren. I'd say one of the most interesting is how he keeps things simple. You look at his calendar, it's pretty simple. You talk to him about a case where he thinks a business is attractive, and he knows a few basic numbers and facts about it. And [if] it gets less complicated, he feels like then it's something he'll choose to invest in. He picks the things that he's got a model of, a model that really is predictive and that's going to continue to work over a long-term period. And so his ability to boil things down, to just work on the things that really count, to think through the basics -- it's so amazing that he can do that. It's a special form of genius."

Gates also admires how "Warren is so nice to everybody" even when he's turning down their requests or questioning their logic. "You know, that's a special talent, and I do find myself thinking, Hmm, how would Warren say this is a friendly fashion?"

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